Preparing poppies

Published on Ms Harriet Pointon Mather (author), POIS James Whittle (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, WA

Topic(s): Ceremony and Traditions, Remembrance Day

Ellen Shine from the RSLWA Poppy Ladies shows a collection of poppies made and collected, with Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Submarine Nicole Lefel from Submarine Force Headquarters, in the Off Watch Centre at HMAS Stirling, WA. (photo: POIS James Whittle)
Ellen Shine from the RSLWA Poppy Ladies shows a collection of poppies made and collected, with Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Submarine Nicole Lefel from Submarine Force Headquarters, in the Off Watch Centre at HMAS Stirling, WA.

There were many enthusiastic volunteers from HMAS Stirling recently when the RSL Western Australia (RSLWA) Poppy Ladies visited the Base and conducted a poppy making workshop for their upcoming commemorative poppy projects.

Making poppies and poppy displays since 2014, the ladies have quite a following with their previous projects and poppy installations regularly making local news headlines.

This year promises to be even bigger and coordinator, Judy Welch, said that their biggest project this year is ‘top secret’.

“We will have a number of installations including Kings Park, where we will have an installation on the steps of the State War Memorial and in the garden around the Flame of Remembrance, which together will comprise over 37,000 poppies,” Judy said. 

“Another installation in London Court in Perth city will utilise over 21,000 poppies with blooms cascading from the flower boxes above the cobbled laneway.”

This year is particularly special for the Poppy Ladies as they have a secret project, celebrating the opening of the new ANZAC House Veteran Central, and commemorating the recent 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day.

Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Ainsley Morthorpe was thrilled that so many personnel attended this year’s workshop, which was held in Stirling’s newly opened all ranks Off Watch Centre.

“It’s such great opportunity for members to support this community project again and even more so this year as the installations will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II,” Captain Morthorpe said. 

There were a number of Navy Gap Year members who participated in the workshop, including Midshipman Jacob Freeman who said it was a great opportunity to get involved with a good cause and learn some new skills at the same time. 

“Engaging with community organisations, especially the RSL, is always worth the effort,” Midshipman Freeman said. 

“Working with the Poppy Ladies gave us the opportunity to learn something new and give back to the community.”

Judy and the Poppy Ladies were excited to have so much support on the day.

“The day at Stirling was perfect, with lovely young people who took the time and interest to show up and learn a new skill,” Judy said.

“The opportunity for the Poppy Lady volunteers to be on an Australian Navy establishment and work with Navy personnel is extremely rewarding and interesting.”

The new RSL Veteran Central building will open in Perth on 12th November and the Poppy Ladies’ top secret project will be featured on display.